Today's News - Friday, November 8, 2013

In Cambria County Court yesterday, a judge sentenced 26-year -old Patrick Burkett of Beaverdale to 13 to 30 years in a state prison. Burkett pleaded guilty in the death of his girlfriend’s 22-month old daughter. Burkett was babysitting Reagan Panic while her mother was at work. Reagan died of blunt force trauma to the head at Children’s Hospital in Pittsburgh in August of last year.

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Johnstown Police removed 16 dogs from a home this week, and yesterday Dale Borough Police found two women living with more than 50 cats at their home on the 100 block of Arthur Street. Police say the conditions inside were not good, and the women voluntarily turned over the cats which are now at the Cambria County Humane Society. They were allowed to keep a few.

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Stephen Jablonski of the Johnstown area was arrested for DUI yesterday morning after crashing his bicycle into a police cruiser. Police say Jablonski was trying to pedal away from the scene of a fight in the Kernville section of the city. He suffered minor injuries from the fight and the cruiser had minimal damage.

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Penn State President Rodney Erickson says he doesn’t know where the Joe Paterno statue is. It was removed from in front of Beaver Stadium in July of last year following the Jerry Sandusky scandal. Erickson also tells WTAJ it’s not his decision whether to put the statue back in its original location. It’s up to the board of trustees. More than 5,000 people have signed a petition asking for the statue to be returned.

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Penn State got a small victory this week when a U.S. District Judge in Philadelphia dismissed one count of vicarious liability against the university in a civil suit brought by Victim 6 in the Jerry Sandusky case. Judge Anita Brody ruled that Penn State can’t be held liable for Sandusky’s actions simply because he was an employee at the time. The judge refused to dismiss a claim of civil conspiracy. Victim 6 was forced to shower with Sandusky in a campus locker room back in 1998.

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The National Park Service, including the five national parks in Western Pennsylvania, will honor veterans with free entrance for all visitors over the three-day Veterans Day weekend, this Saturday, Sunday and Monday. This includes the Allegheny Portage National Railroad National Historic Site, The Johnstown Flood National Memorial and the Fort Necessity National Battlefield. The Flight 93 and Friendship Hill National Memorials are free year-round.

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President Obama is offering his personal apology to people losing their health insurance plans because of the Affordable Care Act. In an exclusive interview with NBC News, Obama spoke about the many Americans who've lost their insurance plans despite his repeated promise that no one would have to give up coverage they liked.

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President Obama’s tech guru is too busy to testify in a congressional hearing about the troubled healthcare.gov site. Todd Park is chief technology officer for the White House and Republican Congressman Darrell Issa wants to hear from Park and other top White House tech officials about the ongoing healthcare website problems.

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A watchdog report shows the Internal Revenue Service paid out 3.6 billion dollars in fraudulent tax refunds to identity thieves last year. That figure is 30 percent below what the IRS refunded to identity thieves the previous year.

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The most powerful storm ever recorded on Earth is crashing into the Philippines this morning. Super Typhoon Haiyan had sustained winds of 195 miles an hour, and gusts of 235 miles an hour when it began hammering the central Philippines. The 235-mile-an-hour gusts are among the highest wind speeds ever seen.

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Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry is denying a report that the country has a deal to sell nuclear weapons to Saudi Arabia. This, after the BBC cited a senior NATO official as saying Pakistan was ready to deliver nuclear bombs to the Saudis. A former head of Israeli military intelligence recently said the Saudis had already paid Pakistan for a nuclear bomb.

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The Labor Department's monthly jobs report is finally coming out this morning. Traditionally, it's released on the first Friday of the month, but the report was delayed due to the partial government shutdown.

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A 64-year-old man is dead after his station wagon plunged into Lake Michigan near downtown Chicago. Witnesses tell “The Tribune” the driver waited for cars to pass last night before driving straight into the lake.

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Dating profiles posted online by accused Colorado theater shooter James Holmes can be admitted as evidence in his upcoming murder trial. A district court Judge denied the defense's bid to have the information suppressed because it exceeded the scope of search warrants. Judge Carlos Samour ruled Holmes had no expectation of privacy when he created the online profiles.

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The chorus calling for the Washington Redskins to change their name is growing louder. Several hundred people turned out to protest outside the Metrodome in Minneapolis last night as Washington lost to the Minnesota Vikings.

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Some people are calling this week’s cover of “Time” magazine a cheap shot. The cover features a silhouette of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie with the headline, “The Elephant In the Room.” The mascot of the Republican Party is, of course, the elephant but some people think “Time” was referring to Christie's weight.

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Home Depot finds itself at the center of a controversy sparked by a tweet that came across to many as extremely racist. While promoting College GameDay, HomeDepot posted a picture of two African American men seated on either side of a man in a monkey suit appearing to play the drums on an upside down bucket. Along with the picture was the question: “Which drummer is not like the others?” By Thursday night, Home Depot had deleted the picture, apologized for it and fired the agency that allowed it to be posted.

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There is now a release date for the much-anticipated release of the next “Star Wars” film. Lucasfilm announced Thursday that “Star Wars: Episode VII” will open in theaters December 18th, 2015. Co-written and directed by J.J. Abrams, it will be the first Lucasfilm release following Disney's purchase of the production company last year.

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